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e-4661 (Foreign affairs)

Initiated by Amera Abunada from Toronto, Ontario

Original language of petition: English

Petition to the Government of Canada

  • Israel has installed a decades-long siege on the people of Gaza issuing collective punishment on two million people in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention;
  • Israel has employed the use of white phosphorus in densely populated urban areas of Gaza and Lebanon in violation of international law as documented by the United Nations;
  • Israel enforces Apartheid against all Palestinians residing within and along its lines as document by the United Nations;
  • Israel has targeted and killed journalists, medics, hospitals, schools, children, and press in their indiscriminate bombing campaigns on Gaza and violence in the West Bank including the brutal executions of Shireen Abu Akleh and Razzan Al-Najjar and the butchery of over 3,000 children in October 2023;
  • Israel has expanded its illegal settlements across the West Bank in violation of international law;
  • Israel has encouraged and armed illegal settlers to kill over 100 Palestinians, injure 2,000 and displace 1,000 in the West Bank since October 2023; and
  • Israel holds without charge over 1,000 Palestinians and Palestinian children in violation of article 16 of the Convention Against Torture and international law.
We, the undersigned, citizens and residents of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to:
1. Sanction the state of Israel for its continued ongoing violations of International law in the Westbank and Gaza;
2. Cease all trade relations and install an arms embargo until Israel abides by international law; and
3. Condemn the ongoing war crimes against Palestinian people as stated in international law.

Response by the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): Rob Oliphant

Canada mourns every Israeli and Palestinian innocent life which has been lost in this conflict and expresses condolences to all families and communities affected by the violence. We stand firmly with the Israeli and Palestinian peoples in their right to live in peace, security, with dignity and without fear.

Canada continues to call for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire. Any ceasefire cannot be one-sided. Hamas must lay down its arms and release all hostages immediately.

The need for humanitarian assistance in Gaza has never been greater. Rapid, safe, and unimpeded humanitarian relief must be provided to civilians. Canada is deeply concerned by the scale of the humanitarian crisis, the diminishing safe space for civilians, and the ongoing risks to all civilians.

Canada remains one of the largest contributors of humanitarian and development assistance to vulnerable Palestinians and we will continue to work with partners towards ensuring the sustained access of humanitarian assistance for civilians, including food, water, medical care, fuel, and shelter, and access for humanitarian workers. To date, Canada has announced over $100 million in humanitarian assistance to address the urgent needs of vulnerable civilians in this crisis, including a matching fund of $13.7 million that leveraged the generosity of individual Canadians. This funding will help provide food, water, emergency medical assistance, protection services and other life-saving assistance. Canada will continue to support civilians with life-saving humanitarian aid, while ensuring that no money gets into the hands of Hamas.

Canada opposes the forcible displacement of Palestinians from Gaza, the re-occupation of Gaza, any reduction in territory, and any use of siege or blockade. Canada also emphasizes that Gaza must no longer be used as a platform for terrorism. There is no role for Hamas in the future governance of Gaza.

As stated by the Prime Minister last month alongside his Australian and New Zealand counterparts, Canada is gravely concerned by Israel’s planned military offensive on the city of Rafah. A military operation into Rafah would risk catastrophic consequences. About 1,5 million Palestinians are taking refuge in the area, including many Canadian citizens and their families. There is simply nowhere else for civilians to go. With the humanitarian situation in Gaza already dire, the impacts on Palestinian civilians from an expanded military operation would be devastating as Rafah remains the main entry point for humanitarian aid into Gaza. Canada continues to urge the Israeli government not to go down this path. This is something that was reiterated the Prime Minister during his recent call with Israeli Minister Benny Gantz and by the Minister of Foreign Affairs during her meetings with Israeli officials.

Canada unequivocally condemns Hamas’ terrorist attacks against Israel, the appalling loss of life, and the heinous acts of violence perpetrated in those attacks, including sexual violence. Canada condemns Hamas’ unacceptable treatment of hostages and calls for the immediate and unconditional release of all remaining hostages. Canada recognizes Israel’s right to exist and right to defend itself. In defending itself, Israel must respect international humanitarian law. Civilians and civilian infrastructure must be protected. Canada will continue to call on all parties to uphold their obligations under international humanitarian law.

Canada strongly condemns the extremist settler violence against Palestinians in the West Bank and is also gravely concerned by reports of Palestinian communities being forcibly removed from their lands in the West Bank. Canada is looking at ways to sanction extremist settlers, to make sure those responsible for violence can be held to account for it. Along with our partners, Canada calls on the Government of Israel to take immediate action to stop such further occurrences of extremist settler violence, protect the Palestinian population, and hold those responsible for the violence accountable under the law. This violence negatively impacts efforts to achieve a negotiated two-state solution.

Canada’s export control system is among the most rigorous in the world. It is harmonized with those of our allies and partners under the major export control regimes. Canada’s accession to the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) in 2019 has further strengthened this approach. Canadian residents wishing to export items on the Export Control List (ECL) must apply for, and be issued, a permit prior to export. Items listed on the ECL include a wide variety of goods and technology intended for both civilian and military purposes, destined to a broad range of end users. Examples of items include forest and agricultural products, telecommunications equipment, decontamination equipment, cryptographic equipment, protective equipment, simulators, imaging equipment, electronic components, firearms, and ammunition.

All permit applications for controlled items, including those destined to Israel, are reviewed on a case-by-case basis as part of a robust risk assessment, including against ATT criteria, which have been enshrined in the Export and Import Permits Act (EIPA). Pursuant to EIPA amendments made in 2019, the Government must table annual reports no later than May 31 of each year with respect to the administration of the EIPA and the export of military goods over the course of the preceding year; these had previously been tabled on a voluntary basis since 1990.

All permits issued for the export of military goods and technologies destined to Israel between October 7, 2023, and January 8, 2024 – as well as all previously approved permits which remain in effect – are for non-lethal items. The government has not approved any new permits since January 8, 2024.  Due to the nature of the Canadian defence industry, the majority of export permits issued by Global Affairs Canada for military goods and technologies are for parts, components and other related equipment and technology, and some of these items may be integrated into more developed components or full systems are ultimately destined for Canada and our allies (i.e., NATO or Five Eyes).

International law, including humanitarian and human rights law, must be respected and civilians, journalists, humanitarian workers, and medical personnel must be protected. The loss of civilian life is deeply disturbing. We are steadfast in our support for the protection of civilians, both Israeli and Palestinian.

Canada is committed to the goal of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East, including the creation of a Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with Israel.

Open for signature
November 9, 2023, at 11:03 a.m. (EDT)
Closed for signature
December 9, 2023, at 11:03 a.m. (EDT)
Presented to the House of Commons
Alexandre Boulerice (Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie)
February 15, 2024 (Petition No. 441-02176)
Government response tabled
April 8, 2024
Photo - Alexandre Boulerice
Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie
New Democratic Party Caucus